[c-nsp] Certification Ethics

Peter Rathlev peter at rathlev.dk
Mon May 11 18:49:36 EDT 2009

On Mon, 2009-05-11 at 16:16 -0500, Chris T wrote: 
> -Am I completely out of line here?  If so, please tell me how.

I have heard about things not completely unlike what you describe. I
have myself been very bored the two times I tried attending CLP courses
so I don't do that anymore. It's a waste of time.

I assume Cisco is only naturally interested in people attending the
courses. From what I've heard they make more than a few pennies from
selling licenses to approved material.

> -What is an appropriate time to study for a single Cisco test (not
> expert level)?  I understand there is a great amount of variance, but
> ballpark figures are what?  100 hours? 500 hours?  1000 hours?

Hm... I used a weekend of preparation for each of three of the exams for
CCIP (BSCI, QOS and MPLS) reading through mostly Cisco Press material. I
took the BGP exam without preparation, though I took O'Reilly's book on
BGP with me to bed. Of the four exams the BSCI was the most challenging
since it covered a lot of subjects, some of which I hadn't had any
practical experience with, like IPv6.

I'm always a little nervous at exams, but I've had no problems only
using what I had learned by working with the technology.

> -What practice test material do YOU think is or is not fair for
> preparation for a Cisco certification test?

Anything you can come by without breaking laws is fair. :-) If you've
asked Cisco specifically about some learning partner and they didn't
want to even consider looking at it, it's fair game.

I personally don't think the certifications are worth very much in the
first place. I've been having discussions with CCIEs that had
misunderstood some of the most basic things (like MED being an
intransitive attribute) and it didn't just happen once.

If I were to judge someone in e.g. a hiring situation I would primarily
look at what (s)he'd been working with and then use maybe half an hour
assessing their technical merit. (I'm not in that position though, and
that's probably for the best.)

The certifications do open some doors though. Management is impressed
and it gives leverage in many situations, like "trust me, I'm a
professional" or when negotiating salaries.


More information about the cisco-nsp mailing list